(One more) Exhibition! [updated]

Thursday, 31 January 2019 00:00

Update

The show mentioned below was followed by another one with the same theme, on another location of BplusC, at Stevenshof Library, Trix Terwindtstraat 6 in Leiden. The show began early May (2019) and is on until the 15th of June. Here's an impression:

Leiden 2019

 

__________________________________________

 

Just like last year, the library of BplusC (Nieuwstraat 4, Leiden) is celebrating poetry with a unique group exhibition. And since it is 350 years from the death of Rembrandt, this is an exhibition in his memory. The show has already started (on the 29th of January) and will be on until the 25th of February.

For now, if you can't visit the library in person to enjoy the works of almost thirty artists, you can read my contribution here:

 

The Night Watch

 

A darkness as thick as molasses —

a spoonful of struggles yet to come.

 

There is humanity in simple gestures,

frailty in men carrying useless guns.

 

Depth is carved on dancing shadows

a soft light enters within from above.

 

A kind hand smoothens the contrasts

until a night is not a night after all.

 

Update: Visiting the show, I was happy to find out that another one of my poems, "Psychographics" from the Poetry Issues project, is also included. Enjoy below a small sample of a beautiful exhibition curated by Alida van Leeuwen:

 

 

 

[At the same time, another exhibition is taking place in The Hague.]

 

Published in news

poetry issues #21

Friday, 25 January 2019 00:00

A very special labor, the January-February issue. I hope you enjoy stories of identity and struggle:

 

Scales

 

Better watch people

from afar, like big cities.

Admire their beauty

from a distance and avoid

touching their fences.

 

On Saturn I'd be

five kilos less and that's what

matters more in this

floating universe where not

a thing weighs more than I.

 

 

Family Gatherings

 

All children wanted to be men

and no one cared to pick

homegrown rosemary and dill

for the women in the kitchen.

 

The boys came in pairs to steal

little cheese pies, then went on

with their precious outdoor life

of playing football and riding bikes.

 

The girls feared nothing more

than becoming their mothers

with lives spent over lemons

and eggs in hot fish soups.

 

We didn’t know then that kitchens

held so many secrets, far more

steaming than backyard politics.

Women have been always winning.

 

 

Breathe

 

The crashing density  the stuffy thoughts

Of asthmatic lungs      gulping

The fake air               with greed

Everyone is trying

To grasp                   what they can

An old woman's         out of luck

Girlish games

Tired pigtails             unwashed

Nicotine and coffee    but

Without infatuation

The earth is flat         just

Give me oxygen

 

 

I'll Play it Cool

 

Every time

you want to hurt me

you twist your tongue

to warm it up

before it hits me

with whip-like speed.

 

I was never fast

with words and now

your gun of a finger

is pointing at me.

I will remain silent.

You cannot win.

 

The Duck Painting

 

It’s hard to tell if it is monochrome

or just faded into a pale delft blue

and why it's hanging in the living room

in this furnished simulation of some

home. I’ll change it – a lasting addition

in the long list of intentions. I start

counting the ducks but get distracted

by the frame. Gold and metallic and

more eighties than my mother. She

had one that looked the same. So,

there’s a faint reminder of who I am.

You find strange ways to connect

when life is condensed to a trolley bag.

 

 [You will learn more about the Poetry Issues project here.]

 

Published in news

(Another) Exhibition!

Tuesday, 15 January 2019 00:00

Five months ago, I mailed these works to a person I have never seen, to be included in an upcoming mail-art exhibition entitled What Makes You Happy. This group exhibition is taking place now in The Hague and you can read more about it here (.pdf courtesy of Alex Witter).

 

This is the second time my work is being included in a group exhibition in the Netherlands. The first one was here. I'm looking forward to many more!

Published in news

poetry issues #20

Wednesday, 07 November 2018 00:00

Enjoy the November-December issue!

 

 

Psychographics

 

Some days felt like prose

in a sloppy, ambitious mind,

striving to be written but

unable to attain

comprehensive form.

 

Trudging through the quagmire

of censorship the days dreamt

of the day they’d flow like verse

unconcerned with technique,

never intended to be performed.

 

But language and reason stood

as one immovable rock, blocking

intuition and broader definitions.

Those days became ink dissolved

in stale waters drunk by mosquitos.

 

 

The Feather

 

Not from a chaste, white dove

but factory born, with no potential

to reach the sky. Promiscuous and orange

descended from a flamboyant boa, full

of silky plastic charm. Forever reeking

of cigarillos and patchouli, unperfect

and only fit for falling, first right

then left and back in a slow diagonal

dance of false aerodynamics rectified

by gravity’s unfaltering axis.

 

 

Coming Home

 

Everything has to end

where it started from.

That’s why I always return

to the scene of our calm crimes

tracing back long lines of sin

filling out logs with updates

on the metastases and spread

of guilt. Everything has to end

where it started from and I’d sworn

there wouldn’t be a doorstep

I would stand on twice

when knocking would be dropping

my arms in unwise surrender.

But how tempting it feels to unburden!

 

 

Fake Fighters

 

We thought it would be the last fine day.

We stayed outside and took it all in.

The sun, the breeze, the smell of green.

 

When more gleaming mornings came

we stayed in, restricted by circumstance

or obligation. We let out sighs of relief  

 

when the land finally gave in to the cold.

Even happiness had gotten tiring.

 

 

Icarus in the Atlantic

                      *for Ger Lataster

 

The reverent viewers debated in whispers

whether light could be mastered

in dark times, obscenely reflected as it were

on a pearl earring, forcing them to admit

the relevance of beauty in the ugly,

cranky world. They went on from wall to wall

undeterred by the overload of masters

of the Golden Age, all of them demanding

a bow. A boy of five, with no taste for detail

and no appreciation at all for human effort

pointed at the ceiling and chose

the abstraction of the working man

and the strawberry jam before he ran

straight to the windows past the Rembrandts

and their servants, unabashedly showing

preference for the frames of moving life.

 

 

 [You will learn more about the Poetry Issues project here.]

Published in news

poetry issues #19

Wednesday, 05 September 2018 19:05

The September-October issue should be enough to keep you busy for a while. Enjoy.

 

 

Cooking

 

Over a boiling pot

we wait for small epiphanies

bemused by the stillness

of the branches outside.

Do our black cats make us

witches? Shall we burn?

The Inquisition says we shall.




The Weather

 

Sure, let’s talk about the weather

like our lives depend upon it

like our crops will fail

and famine will hit

our fatty brains.

Relieved that it won’t rain

we’ll go for a walk

step on our horseshit

and still come home miserable.

Better stay inside, watch a movie.




110/116

 

Between birthday parties

and treasure hunts

I have to explain

why I made him and

affirm I’ll still love him

after I die.

 

I’d never thought

I'd give myself up

but here we are

swearing by Jedi honor,

shovelling sand in ecstasy.

 

Nothing much in it

but abundant poetry.




Seaside Resort

 

Don’t scorn the floral patterns

and the doughnut-shaped waists

nor the high-pitched laughter

and the fuzzy stares.

 

Footsteps echo louder

at the end of August

and pining mixes with the smell

of fresher fish and ice-cream cones.




Grandpa

 

Old bones assembled by magic.

Nothing else seems to hold.

We all scolded him for lying

but he was the conqueror

of the seven seas

in my five-year-old mind.

 

He instilled in me two shipwrecks

an abstract love for Argentina

and going rogue under fake names

in the US in the 50’s.

 

The giant is folding in his seat:

An overripe camellia flower

that forgot to fall apart.

 

 

 

[You will learn more about the Poetry Issues project here.]

Published in news

What Makes You Happy

Monday, 13 August 2018 00:00

Poetry Issues has skipped a beat and there is no July-August issue. However, this is for a good reason besides the holiday slack. I was invited by Alex Witter to participate in a mail-art exhibition and I've been busy answering the hard question posed by the theme: "What makes you happy?"

 

Silence

 

A rare walk-in gem

shutting out the noise.

 

A meditation as deep

as death, with openings

 

from where to emerge fearless

and wise. Darkness as peace

 

for wild, overexposed eyes.

 

 

 

Wild Flowers

 

They come uninvited.

Pink and purple perseverance.

Hideous unsanctioned seeds

making no plea to the bees.

I let them take over the garden. 

It’s always the stranger

that moves you forward.

 

 

 

Driving

 

I get this funny feeling

that there’s enough air

in my lungs, the certainty

that we will make it.

 

Brush strokes rushing

past, tangled in your hair

the world, a bonfire simile

lit by midday heat.

 

If you try breathing

your body simply dares

to ache, making getaway

from its weary myths.

 

 

 

Your Laughter

 

Not the reserved, polite one

but the one that gushes out

letting your teeth show

thrusting your head back

blocking your breath –

bouncing 

      from wall 

to wall. An echo

fighting dust from dust to dust.

 

Alex Witter has set up a great inventory of all artists and works participating in this upcoming exhibition, where you'll find amazing work from artists from all over the world.

Published in news

poetry issues #18

Saturday, 19 May 2018 17:49

 

The May - June issue is out! Here you go:

 

 

American Football

 

Back and forth.

Circles disguised

in straight go routes.

Until you get things

right

things get you.

Until routes go straight

in disguised circles,

forth and back.

 

 

 

In Red

 

Those toes in the shower

I’m looking down to

belong to a Lynchian heroine.

 

They say depersonalization

results from violence

and I ponder over the form.

 

Do not knock, just enter.

Privacy is a luxury

only spoiling a good plot.

 

 

 

Alekaki

 

My friend likes the number eight.

It completes her broken parts

and promises the unity of one.

 

You will find her crouching

among quitting and lighting it up

on a white pile of unironed roles.

 

She’s the colour blue, as found

in nature: A wondrous reflection

of elusive light. A life of words.

 

 

 

Ode to Nothing

 

As a child I thought

I controlled the wind. Perhaps

the wind controls me.

 

Before great sorrow

the air stands still. I know then

something is coming.

 

Dry petals falling

like snow. Who’d have thought death would

be so beautiful.

 

 

 

Unhealthy are

 

Your stress relief habits

and the junk you eat.

How the world treats you

and what you think of it.

The screens you watch

and the dust you breathe.

 

But tomatoes won’t

save you from cancer.

Treating the symptom is

not the answer.
Wars will not be prevented

by treaties. And nobody likes kiwis.

 

 

 

 [You will learn more about the Poetry Issues project here.]

 

 

 

Published in news

poetry issues #15

Wednesday, 01 November 2017 19:08

 

Since the previous issue was all free verse, there's a fair share of formality in this one: "Retribution" is a pantoum (which happens to be one of my favorite forms), "Northern Beach in Bref Double" a bref double of course, and "Coming at the Florist" a golden shovel. Poetry Issues #15, out today:

 

Retribution

 

Memory should not be exercised.

Like a packet of quit smokes

it better remain undisturbed

in a locked box in the closet.

 

Like a packet of quit smokes

I hide your grayscale picture

in a locked box in the closet

in all-encompassing silence.

 

I hide your grayscale picture

mummified and fossilised

in all-encompassing silence

like an angry ancient god.

 

Mummified and fossilised

you better remain undisturbed

like an angry ancient god.

Memory should not be exercised.

 

 

 

Northern Beach in Bref Double

 

They arrived at the haven of bronze sun gods

and said: “We want five ships of fine sand.”

The pale seafarers got nasty sunburns but

were back home in time for the Indian summer.

 

They strewed it wavy, golden and silvery and

the children combed it by hand for better shells.

Even the fish came out of the sea to check it

when the workers headed home for hot supper.

 

Once, a lion’s mane jellyfish fell for a seagull

who was cruising the shore for leftovers at

a crowded spot. Before she died dehydrated

they both agreed the sea was their mother.

 

The children relished at the beast’s bad end

but a sudden limp burdened the seagull’s strut.



 

B Sides

 

Inside red apples fat worms inside the letterbox

a rageful cat inside dreams spiraling labyrinths

inside a struggling dignity marginalization inside

a deep-chest scream confinement inside unvarnished

sentences run-down desires inside the doll another

doll inside delusion the need to escape inside.

 

 

 

Sociology or That’s How You Rule the World

 

Your affordances will be reduced to one

as ecology will variate between

plastic A and concrete B.

 

As long as you let them engage with

stable fables peasants will trust

that one day they’ll be kings.

 

Turn sacred symbols into commodities

rob the fruits of their juicy essence

but give the natives beads.

 

 

 

Coming at the Florist

 

The iron door was left open by nobody

and the black cat assured me it had not

been her. Had I sniffed in the shop even

the slightest trace of evening rose, the

doubts would’ve dispersed. With such rain

it was hard to tell. But only my woman has

this sweet marmite blood that shoots such

piercing scents of love through the small

pores of her sweaty, rosy, cosy hands.

 

 

 [You will learn more about the Poetry Issues project here.]

 

 

Published in news

poetry issues #12

Wednesday, 12 April 2017 12:15

This twelfth issue, whose distribution started today, completes the first cycle of Poetry Issues. It has been a full year of poetic expression and I hope you've enjoyed it as much as I did. From now on the publication will become bimonthly, in order to dedicate some time to other works.

You can read this issue below:

 

 

April’s Fool

 

It’s a joke, all this rain,

and I’m reminded

only by date that this

is the advent of spring.

And I envy the trees.

They seem to possess

the right time for everything:

Like clockwork they go

through winters and springs

accepting, always in majesty,

each turn of season that I

try, strong-headed and vain,

to manipulate and command.

You refused to hold my hand.




Life Without Temptation

 

I didn’t die nor resurrect

at the age of thirty three.

I’ve lost my chance.

And now I watch myself

mature to death –

an unappealing apple

without an Eve’s hand

to save me from counting

how many meters

before I hit the ground.




Afterwards

 

Pestered as they were by what happens next

they left their sentences undone, hanging

annoying as fruit flies, unsure of their direction

overwhelmed by the vast possibilities ahead.

But once, fueled by a whole night’s drinks

they raced into the pink-gold dawn that painted

all their hopes anew. That’s when they learned

that language is redundant when your soul

is smooth and it’s not only youth that burns with instinct.




Letter

 

I don’t have to tell you

that we are not what we seem.

You know it better than I do.

 

Your chatoyant eyes reflect some

passion you dismiss. I have proof

in the shivers I get when you come

 

to have a coffee under my roof

and rehearse your staged words.

Still, I hear nothing but the truth.

 

It must be an augmented chord,

what tunes us in each other.

Life before you was a chore.

 

I’m a moth heading to the lantern

for what is love but death, dear lover?




In Therapy

 

Most days I don’t remember my dreams.

It’s just that I often wake up with a sigh.

 

I’m quite hard and detest looking back.

Cicadas and lilac skies don’t amuse me.

 

In my youth I grieved imaginary deaths

far as I was from the need of an afterlife.

 

I found purpose in the half-time. I was

meant to be the eye of the universe.

 

 

 

[If you would like to learn more about the Poetry Issues project, read this.]

Published in news

poetry issues #11

Saturday, 04 March 2017 16:21

The distribution of the 11th issue began today. Read the contents here:

 

 

You, Yes, You

 

I’m scared of your dark potential.

It unwinds serpentine

as you avoid collision and

– god forbid! – correlation

with other bodies on the street

all too efficient from having had

brushes with perceived fiends

but mostly eager to possess

a shallow pride you defend

by throwing tantrums of

unchecked greed and insecurity.



The Wanderer

 

Longing

often comes

in strange shapes.

 

Californian vineyards

and Australian seas

I haven’t seen you.

I don’t know if

I’ll get a visa for my dreams.

 

Of all the things

I left back home

I miss the hills.



The Drama-King

 

“I’m alone,” he cried

and pulled his hair

in desperation

from the small seat

on his high throne

but never looked beyond

his own reflection.



Victim

 

On the up side,

I’m not afraid of darkness

anymore. Horror

found me in broad daylight

and the hand was known.



In the Inside Pocket

 

An item or two of no importance.

An acorn or a corner of a leaf.

A marble and a hair clip.

Found poems meant to guide

and keep us grounded

respecting that we once

were children too.



By Your Sickbed

 

To attest the fact that

“our life is not our own”

I invent bunches of meaning

and lay them clustered

in the functions I perform.

 

I can be described at best

as mediocre or even arrested

in a wild adolescence of feeling.

But being given

one

more

chance

at efficient action, I twist

with abandon the wet towel

that will cool your forehead.

 

 

 

[If you would like to learn more about the Poetry Issues project, read this.]

 

 

Published in news
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